I've had books on the site for two years now, and had ZERO sales. But I'm a bit more than frustrated with Smashwords. Half of my frustration is their content, every pornographer in the world uses them, the other half is the fact they hold earnings for 3 months before they pay.
So I switched over to D2D. They post faster, and the books appear to have better visibility. (They aren't being filtered for content, which helps.)
The results are encouraging.
My B&N downloads of free books are double what they were from Smashwords. Or at least the reporting is twice as fast. On Smashwords I get one or two d/l of Impressive Bravado a day, but The Emissary might as well be invisible.
On D2D, I've already had 20 d/l of The Emissary this month.
Why the difference?
Content filtering, is my guess. As Smashwords panders to the pornographic, B&N is forced to blanket filter their content - it all goes into the mulch layer and stays there. They don't have time to sort it, so it all gets about 10k 'points' added to the rank to keep it from dominating the charts.
Since D2D doesn't carry that content, the files have an even chance of being seen, which is a BIG boost to a small-fry like myself.
Why do I say this? Impressive Bravado (via Smashwords) has been a steady give-away on B&N for 3 years, it has a rank of 113k. The Emissary, Smashwords version, is invisible. I can't find it with a simple search. However, the D2D version is sitting pretty with a rank of 101k.
Unfortunately, I can't close the NookPress account, just like with KoboWritingLife, there's no way to close the account as an author and no way to get your money out if you have them do it. (Both sites have owed me $9 for years, I'll never see that money.)
In case you are curious, I'll clarify my methods. I uploaded all my short fiction to D2D two years ago, where it did nothing. I've been getting a smattering of d/ls of freebies on Smashwords, but only about $10 of sales per year. (Most of those were Sony Sales.) This February I uploaded Mom's short stories to D2D, made a couple of hers free and one of mine (Impressive Bravado) her's started to get some action when I re-did the covers.
The Emissary started getting hits on B&N via D2D with the new cover. I couldn't even FIND the Smashwords version on B&N, so I pulled it. They report 2 months in arrears on Smashwords, while D2D has promised to report daily starting yesterday.
Oh, what a difference a day made.
I'm showing 11 d/ls of The Emissary in May and 10 for June. The Emissary has FINALLY been discovered on B&N!
I'm handling the switch-over very carefully. First, I've raised all Smashwords prices to $.99. I'm handling all the freebies via D2D. Then I started pulling all the Smashwords files from vendors who have hooked up with both companies.
The wild card is Apple, currently my best vendor for Impressive Bravado. Switching over to Apple has proven trickier. First off, they require ISBNs from Smashwords. However, they do not appear to require ISBNs from D2D.
I may not switch over on Apple. Upsetting the Apple-cart is not in my best interest. We'll see what happens with freebies vs dollar-dreadful on Apple.
If I can start making money on Apple, I'll leave Smashwords alone.
IMO Kobo is a black-hole. Kobo is a black-hole even if you have an account in Writing Life. I've found it impossible to get any ACCURATE sales information out of them since Day 1. (Shrug) They never update covers, or files, or prices and they never pay.
Meanwhile, I earn a dollar or two from Amazon each month.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to make this announcement: I'm pulling out of the e-book business at the end of 2015.
I had two books hit the Best Seller's List - it was fantastic - but it didn't last. Since 2012 my best month was $14 last year. I can't justify all the time I spend online for zero return.
I'm going to finish up all the current projects in time for the Winter Reading Season, in my spare time. I'm pulling e-books from every market that has zero return at the end of 2015.
I intend to get rid of The Hoard, get Talbot Hill sold and get a Real Life.